UK Prime Minister David Cameron has backed a ban on face-covering veils such as burqas in schools, courts and at border check points in the country but said he will not go as far as what France did to impose a blanket ban.
“When you’re coming into contact with an institution, or you’re in court, or if you need to be able to see someone’s face at the border, then I will always back the authority and institution that have put in place proper and sensible rules,” Cameron said.
It comes as the UK prepare to announce a series of measures designed to stop British Muslims becoming radicalised and traveling to the Middle East to join terrorist groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
“What does matter is if, for instance, a school has a uniform policy, sensitively put in place and all the rest of it, and people want to flout that uniform policy, often for reasons that aren’t connected to religion, you should always come down on the side of the school,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC Radio Four.
Cameron, 49, however, rejected the idea of a blanket ban on burqas and other religious headgear, along the lines of the ban imposed in France since 2010.
“Going for the more sort of French approach of banning an item of clothing, I don’t think that’s the way we do things in this country and I don’t think that would help,” he said.
Cameron’s comments came on the day he unveiled plans for tougher new English language requirements to prevent segregation of members of the Muslim community.
New rules will mean that from October this year migrants coming to the UK on a five-year spousal visa with poor or no English skills will have to take a test after two and a half years to show they are making efforts to improve their English.
France introduced a controversial ban on wearing the full face veil in public in 2010, triggering concerns from rights groups.